March 11, 2013

Project No 'Poo | An Introduction

(image: Pinterest)

Hi ladies! I have recently embarked on a rather interesting journey, and I have sparked the curiosity of a few fellow beauty junkies on Twitter so I figured out, why not dedicate a whole series to this experience? So, let's start by the beginning - you may be wondering, what the heck is No 'Poo? Basically, No 'Poo is a method of washing your hair without shampoo. There are a few ways to do this, but in this series, I will talk only about the most popular, which is using baking soda and a vinegar (although I will skip the vinegar but more on that later in this post).

Most of us realize that washing our hair everyday is bad, but, as for showering with chemical products every day, eating animals or animal products, etc., we have been so conditioned to do so that it’s just weird for somebody to think something otherwise. The problem with traditional shampoos is that they are actually detergents - they use chemicals to strip your hair and scalp of dirt and sebum (the natural oils created by your scalp). This is how the vicious circle starts - your scalp is over-producing sebum to replace what is being stripped away by your shampoo, which is why you end up with oily hair that has to be shampooed daily.

The difference with traditional shampoos and baking soda is that baking soda is not a detergent, so the sebum your scalp produces doesn’t get stripped away, and your scalp will produce less oil since it will be in balance again. You will be able to go at least a week (and even more!) before having to wash your hair again, and most of the time, you will only need water - yes, water!

Personally, when I was younger (around 13 or 14 years old, probably), I made the mistake of believing a friend who told me you had to wash your hair every single day in order for it to be really clean, which is why I have been struggling with oily hair that required daily shampooing since then. More recently, thanks to dry shampoos, I have been able to space washes for up to three or four days, but honestly, I am tired of having to worry about how my hair will look like the morning after - and let's face it, dry shampoos are not exactly cheap - which is why I am embarking on this journey.

(image: Pinterest)

There are tons of other benefits to No 'Poo:

  • Certain chemicals in shampoo, especially foaming agents like sodium lauryl sulfate, can irritate your scalp and hair, as well as the skin that your hair touches
  • Your hair will be less oily and it will require less washings, it will look healthier, it will have more body and less frizz and fly-aways, it will be shinier, and it will be easier to style
  • If you dye your hair, your color will last longer and it will be more brilliant since baking soda won't strip away the color as much as store-bought shampoos
  • Less money wasted on chemical products (No 'Poo only requires baking soda and vinegar!)
  • You may even notice new hair growth because your scalp will be healthier since it will be no longer clogged with oil and debris!
  • You are doing something good for the environment since you are no longer buying wasteful plastic packagings, and no harmful ingredients get washed down the drain whenever you wash your hair, polluting the lakes, rivers and oceans. 

As I said earlier, the most popular method is to simply wash your hair how and when you would normally do it, but swap shampoo for baking soda. You could either make a paste with the baking soda in by mixing a small quantity with water in the palm of your hand, but I personally prefer to prepare a solution of baking soda and water. The most recommended amount is 1 tbsp of baking soda for 1 cup of water, but the amount of baking soda that works for you really depends on your hair. If your hair is oily, you will want to use more baking soda, and for dry hair, use less. Store the mixture in a squeezable bottle for ease of use.

In the shower, wet hair and shake very well before applying the baking soda solution to the roots of your hair only and rub in a circular motion all around, focusing on the scalp, not the rest of your hair. This is optional but I like to let the baking soda sit on my hair for a minute or while I do the rest of my shower routine. Be sure to rinse very well, because white and itchy residues of baking soda is never cute. 

(image: Pinterest)

The next recommended step is to replace traditional conditioner with a vinegar rinse in order to replace your hair's ph level and infuse some moisture - without the acidic effect to balance the harsh alkaline of the baking soda, the hair and scalp might become brittle and dry - but since the main reason why I am going No 'Poo is to re-balance my scalp and protect my hair color, I will still be using store bought conditioners for now until I run out since vinegar will strip the color. I will then try to rely on coconut oil or any other natural products.

There are no specific guidelines on how to No 'Poo, but my plan is to wash with baking soda for a week or more until I am used to do so, then try to stretch it by a day, and then another, and another, until I am satisfied with the length of time I can go without washing my hair. My ultimate goal would be to wash my hair only with water one day, but you could also just use baking soda to wash your hair whenever you want since it is cheap, healthy and free of all those nasty chemicals.

I am really excited to share my progress with you and please let me know if you are jumping on the bandwagon too, I would be curious to know how it goes!


  1. My problem is not oily hair, it is sweat. I ride my bicycle to work and I workout three times a week. I would feel dirty without washing my hair a few times a week. I do not wash it every day, I wash it two-three times a week.

  2. The baking soda method has never worked well for me, but cowashing tends to work well for me.

  3. I find that baking soda gets gunky in my super curly hair, but co washing is an alternative! It's great for curly hair and dyed hair :).

  4. @Ninni : Two-three times a week is actually great Ninni! But without shampoo, after the awkward over-oily stage (not that you HAVE experience it), you should be able to wash your hair only with water, which is my ultimate goal!

    @Tammy @Kookie Kookster : I 've heard great things about co-washing but since my main problem is oily hair, I simply can't imagine washing with conditioner, but I have been told it's really great for curly haired ladies. Glad it works for you both!

  5. J'ai hate d'entendre les résultats! J'avais essayé le co-washing une-deux fois, mais jai vraiment pas aimé ca, ca rendais mes cheveux gras. Moi ca fait des années (depuis l'adolescence) que jme lave les cheveux seulement 2 fois par semaine. Au début cétait pas chic, et mes amies riaient de moipcq j'avais mes journées de lavage de cheveux mais j'ai tenu bon et ca la porté fruit! :)

  6. I'm SO interested to hear how this works out for you! I've considered doing it many times. I used to be able to go a few days without washing but recently, I've gotten in the habit of washing everyday and my hair seems to get greasy so quickly. Dry shampoos are also not so helpful for me anymore, because my hair is quite a lot darker now than it used to be, and the powder just doesn't blend as easily as before. I would LOVE to get into a routine where I'm only washing a couple times a week!

  7. I actually use this method once a week to deep cleanse my hair. I tried swapping 'poo for baking soda but it didn't work. My hair was rough and it didn't clean properly. I hate sulfates so I try to go for gentle shampoos, mix with baking soda and I let them sit in my hair for a while to let them work rather than strip my hair with those harsh detergents. Sometimes I add some fine sea salt. I am addicted to this now. Then I need a conditioner, I simply can't do without one. And I always rinse with ACV. My scalp is so much happier with it. Let us know how this method works for you. Co-washing didn`t work me either. Silicone overload!

  8. This sounds really interesting, I'm not sure I could go without shampoo, I strangely really enjoy washing my hair!

    Jennie xo | sailorjennie.com

  9. J'ai vraiment le goût d'essayer ça :)

    (& oui j'ai essayé la base CC et je l'adore aussi! )

  10. Cool! Personnellement, j'ai pas vraiment de problème avec mes cheveux. Je peux espacer les lavages de 2 jours, sauf quand je suis super stressée et fatiguée, genre pendant les fins de session.(ça devient gras en une journée)

    Mais sinon, ma mère m'a raconté qu'il y a une vieille madame en Thailande qui n'a jamais utilisé du shampoing de sa vie! Elle a toujours lavé ses cheveux avec un mélange d'eau de riz (c'est de l'eau qu'elle garde après avoir lavé son riz) avec du jus de citron. Ma mère a dit qu'elle va essayer ça! Je t'en donnerai des nouvelles si jamais elle l'essaie pour de vrai!

  11. oh wow this sounds like quite the challenge!! and since I have no hair maybe I will? lol. I give you props if you can do this, it sounds hard! but it probably works like a charm once you get the hang of it.SUPER interested in your updates on this! :)

  12. @Stephanie B : Ah que tu as bien fait! Moi c'est plutôt à l'adolescence que j'ai fait cette erreur, ahhh quand on est jeune et influençable... Je n'ai pas essayé le co-washing et je n'en ai pas l'intention puisque mon problème premier est les cheveux gras!

    @Catherine @ bcrueltyfree: Oh no, you didn't! I can totally relate... I have no idea what was thinking when I got into that bad habit! Dry shampoos were nver a problem for me though, even with darker hair... maybe you should experiment more with them? Cake and Batiste make some nice ones especially for darker hair.

    @My Beauty Box: Oooh I know, my hair got all cotton-y and tringy at the beggining, but I realized it was because I used too much baking soda, which dried out my hair and scalp way too much. I'm glad you have found a method that works for you though!

    @jennie : Ahahah I know right, washing with baking soda is a less enjoyable experience, but I guess it's worth it in the long run (:

    @Valili : Oui c'est sûr que le stress vient jouer là-dedans! J'ai pas de misère à croire que la dame n'ait jamais utilisé de shampooing de sa vie, ce n'est qu'une mauvaise habitude qu'on nous a inculqué, comme bien d'autres choses dont certains que j'ai mentionné dans cet article. J'ai hâte de savoir ce que ta mère pense de son expérience!

    @ *MoNtseR GiRl*: You know what Taygan, I think since you recently cut your hair, it would be the perfect time to try this since it will allow your hair to grow back healthier and free of those harsh chemicals found in shampoos! The hardest step is really to dive in!

  13. Sounds interesting although I would have to skip the vinegar too :)


  14. First of all, why don't I looke like that girl in the last picture she is stunning.
    Secondly, this sounds really interesting. I only wash my hair twice sometimes three times a week anyway. Always have done and thats why I think I can get away with it. I agree that the less you wash your hair the better condition it is and I can't wait to hear how you get on with this. x

  15. "but, as for showering with chemical products every day... Less money wasted on chemical products"

    You know everything that we can touch is a chemical right? Including water, baking soda and vinegar...

  16. @zammbi: I highly doubt water, baking soda and vinegar contain sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, thank you very much.